After ensuring passage into the last sixteen of the Champions League, Ernesto Valverde has put the final touches to his preparations for the second project of a testing week. On Sunday at 8.45pm CET, league leaders Barça visit the home of second placed Valencia.
And it’s huge. Win and Barça go seven points at the top of the table. Lose, and their lead is cut to just one.
He gathered the troops one last time at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper on Saturday evening, for the final training session. Arda Turan was absent due to treatment on a dental abscess, but Alberto Varo and David Costas of Barça B were involved.
Indeed, centre back Costas, on loan from Celta, has been included in the 18-man squad that will be heading south on Sunday morning, as had already been confirmed by Valverde at his pre-match press conference.
The full squad for the game is as follows: Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Semedo, Rakitic, Sergio, Denis Suárez, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Paulinho, Deulofeu, Paco Alcácer, Jordi Alba, Digne, Aleix Vidal, Umtiti, Vermaelen and David Costas.
The injured Dembélé, Rafinha, Arda Turan, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes and Mascherano all stay at home.